Clara Oswald had a relatively long run as the Doctor’s companion in Doctor Who. She was introduced in the first episode of season 7, “Asylum of the Daleks“, and after replacing Amy and Rory she stayed on through season 9. She was around for the departure as Matt Smith as the eleventh Doctor and the subsequent arrival of Peter Capaldi’s older, crankier Doctor number twelve.
Season 10, however, will see the arrival of a new companion: Bill, played by actress Pearl Mackie. Bill’s arrival gives the show a chance for a bit of a shake-up, with the new character offering a new perspective on the universe of aliens and time travel that she will find herself in. But what exactly will her perspective on that universe be?
Both Capaldi and Mackie spoke to reporters, including Screen Rant’s own, during New York Comic Con and were asked about the dynamic between the Doctor and his new companion. Both actors spoke to the idea of Bill’s personality having a big effect not only on her attitude toward the Doctor and his adventures, but on the Doctor’s attitude as well. For Capaldi, Bill starts off more grounded in the real world than Clara did, and that allows for a reintroduction to the whole Doctor Who universe through her eyes:
“The great thing about Pearl and about the character that she plays is that both of them are totally new to the Doctor Who world. Unlike Clara who had a sort of intrinsic plot to the Doctor’s timeline, Bill comes from the real world. So the whole Doctor Who universe has to be introduced to her, which reminds you of how fabulous it is, what a fabulous idea it is, this person traveling around time and space in a police box that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It’s been fun, because the essential idea of Doctor Who is so powerful and allows you to do so much, but we rarely have to explain it. We get to explain some of the basic tenets of the show, which is nice.”
For Mackie, Bill’s personality is what sets her apart from previous companions and offers not only a new perspective for the show, but a new dynamic with the Doctor than those that came before her:
“Bill herself is very smart, her brain works very quickly, she’s very quick-witted, and sometimes that can get her into a bit of trouble. She doesn’t always think before she speaks, she goes with her instincts, which I think is interesting for the Doctor. The way that they kind of play off of each other and challenge each other is something that’s quite new, quite fresh, which I think is really cool. She’s really fascinated with the way his brain works. With all of his experience traveling through space and time, he brings a really interesting perspective that you don’t see in people you meet every day. In turn, he’s interested in the way that her brain works, in the way that she reacts to things. She’s quite governed by her instincts and when he shows her this world, she doesn’t react in the way that he would always expect, which is something that I think is really lovely for him, to see his world and to see the things that he knows and loves and is familiar with through a new pair of eyes. I think that’s a nice dynamic.”
Of course, in a universe where time travel has the potential to rewrite history and bring old characters back in new ways, Clara may not totally be out of the picture yet. Reunions with past companions and even past Doctors are not out of the ordinary for Doctor Who, and Capaldi teased a reunion with Clara when he spoke at Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. back in June. Even if that does happen, though, it will almost definitely be a one-off event. Bill is here to stay for the foreseeable future (and past), and fans will get to see what that means for the show sometime in 2017. Before then, the Doctor will meet a straight-up superhero in the Christmas special Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio.
Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio will air in December on BBC1 and BBC America. Doctor Who season 10 is set to air in 2017, though dates have yet to be confirmed.